One of the main pieces of inspiration for the layout was an article in the March 1986 Modern Railways which included a feature on the regeneration of the Welsh Valleys lines - of which Rhiw was an imaginary section. The modelled period was 85-89 just prior to privatisation and post miner's strike when the Welsh Valleys had money pumped into them by the British Government and the European Union; new passenger services were planned on old freight lines and the (then) new Sprinter units were coming on-stream.
Demise and rebirth
The layout's main failing was the front operation which I found uncomfortable and intrusive to the viewer. Consequently Rhiw was broken up for parts in 2014 after attending several exhibitions, and much of the track and the boards were recycled into the Art of Compromise GWR layout.
A Mk 2 version has now been constructed using the same track plan, but on a reduced board footprint.A full article on the building of Rhiw Mk 1 appeared in the July 2012 Railway Modeller which can be accessed via the RM online archive.